Baseball is back! It is often said that Southern California does not have seasons, or perhaps, simply has one. But every baseball fan knows that isn’t true and that we do have four seasons. We have the holiday season (Hanukkah and Christmas sandwiched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day), the off season (a time of darkness across the land when no baseball is being played), spring training (where hope really does spring eternal) and the regular season.
The regular season starts in early April and is signaled by our three teams (San Diego Padres, Los Angels Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) returning from spring training in Arizona. The Dodgers and Angels then engage in the annual Freeway Series, a three-game home and away series.
This year, the first two games (April 2 and 3) will be played at Anaheim’s Angel Stadium and the last game will be Saturday, April 4, at Dodger Stadium. Southern California baseball fans hope to see the same two teams playing in the World Series this fall.
The San Diego Padres (who have completely revamped their team and have playoff aspirations of their own) open the season at Dodger Stadium (April 6-8), and then host the San Francisco Giants (April 9-12) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (April 13-15). They’ll then host the Dodgers (April 24-26) and the Houston Astros (April 27-29).
In addition to their games with Angels and Padres, the Dodgers host the Seattle Mariners (April 13-15), the Colorado Rockies (April 17-19) and their long-time rivals from the North, the San Francisco Giants (April 27-29).
The Angels will welcome the Kansas City Royals to Anaheim Stadium (April 10-12), followed by the Oakland Athletics (April 20-23) and the Texas Rangers (April 24-26).
As a preview, all baseball fans should look forward to the May-June issue of Southern California Life and pay special attention to the cover.
For NBA fans, we have two teams headed in completely different directions. Los Angeles Lakers fans can dream about glory days long past and hope the draft is good to them as they look to the future. But after they host the Los Angeles Clippers on April 5, Minnesota Timberwolves on April 7, the Dallas mavericks on April 12 and the Sacramento Kings on April 15, they’ll be done.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Clippers are playoff-bound. Seeding and opponents have yet to be determined, but there will be playoff basketball at the Staples Center this year. Before the playoffs start, the Clippers need to finish out the regular season and will do so by hosting the Lakers on April 7, the Memphis Grizzlies on April 11 and the Denver Nuggets on April 13.
NHL hockey is also entering an exciting time with the playoffs starting in April. The Anaheim Ducks have secured a spot in the playoffs, but still have home games at the Honda Center with the Edmonton Oilers (April 1), the Colorado Avalanche (April 3) and the Dallas Stars (April 8).
The Los Angeles Kings, who share their home ice with the Lakers and Clippers at the Staples Center are fighting for a playoff spot. Every game counts and they will be closing out their season at home by hosting the Edmonton Oilers (April 2), Colorado Avalanche (April 4) and the San Jose Sharks on April 11.
For all the events listed above, detailed information is available at the team and event websites. Be sure to check the dates, times and ticket availability. And, please know that this short column only touches the surface of the various sporting events available for your viewing pleasure. I typically try to cover the “bigger events” and a couple of those that might be less known. While you’re visiting, should you find an upcoming event that you think would be of interest, or one I missed this month but should note for next year, just drop me a line. Enjoy!